Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Protecting Parts of a Document.

Protecting Parts of a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2019)

1

Word allows you to protect parts of a document so that they cannot be changed. This is done through Word's implementation of its forms feature. The idea behind forms is that you can specify the information to be entered in a form using special controls, and then you protect the form so that you can only enter data by using those controls; no other information in the protected portion of the form can be changed. If you didn't define any controls for the form, then all the information still remains protected, and you end up with a document that cannot be changed.

When you protect your document, you can also specify that only specific sections of the document be protected. Sections, in Word, are defined by the presence of section breaks. You insert a section break by displaying the Page Layout (Layout if you are using Word 2016 or a later version) tab of the ribbon and clicking the Breaks tool. Once your document is divided into sections, you can protect a section by following these steps:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Restrict Editing tool, in the Protect group. Word displays the Restrict Formatting and Editing (Word 2007 or Word 2010) or the Restrict Editing (Word 2013 or a later version) task pane at the right of your document.
  3. In section 2 of the task pane (Editing Restrictions), select the check box. This enables the drop-down list in the section.
  4. Using the drop-down list, choose Filling in Forms. Word makes the Select Sections link available, right under the drop-down list. (The link is only made available if your document contains multiple sections.)
  5. Click the Select Sections. Word displays the Section Protection dialog box.
  6. Make sure that only the section (or sections) you want protected are selected in the list of sections.
  7. Click on the OK button. Word closes the Section Protection dialog box.
  8. In the task pane, click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button. Word displays the Start Enforcing Protection dialog box.
  9. Enter a password for the protection, if desired. (You'll need to enter it twice.)
  10. Click OK.
  11. Close the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane.

At this point you cannot change anything in the document sections you specified in step 6, unless there were forms controls in that section.

Notice that protection is done in Word on a section-by-section basis. (If there is only one section in the document, then the whole document is protected.) This means that you cannot protect other objects, such as text boxes or table cells. There is a way, however, that you can protect an entire row in a table. All you need to do is insert a continuous section break at the beginning of the row you want to protect, and then insert another continuous section break at the beginning of the row following the one you want to protect. You can then follow the above steps to protect the section you just created—the one containing a single table row.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7071) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Protecting Parts of a Document.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Sizing Text Boxes and Cells the Same

Adding a text box to a worksheet is easy. Making sure that text box is the exact size of a cell in the worksheet may not ...

Discover More

Specifying the Default Printer

Windows allows you to define many printers that can be used with your system. Chances are good that one of those printers ...

Discover More

Placeholders for Stamps

Got a reply envelope you want to create? Why not put a placeholder for the stamp on the envelope? It's easy to do if you ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form

If you create a form using Word, chances are good that you don't want a user to mess up the layout of the form by ...

Discover More

Saving and Using a Form

After you have created your custom form, you will need to save it so that you can use it as often as needed. Word makes ...

Discover More

Using Mandatory Form Fields

When using form fields to gather information from users of your documents, you may want to make sure that some of the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 5?

2017-01-20 21:24:37

Paula

Is there a way of doing the above but have a line broken into 2 sections. EG a form where you have say Name: and want them to be able to then type their name tabbed over. I can only do sections on new lines.

Thank you


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.